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ASCO Reports Biggest Clinical Cancer Advances for 2015

The advance of the year is approval of four new therapies for treatment of CLL

FRIDAY, Jan. 23, 2015 (HealthDay News) — The biggest clinical cancer advances for 2015 have been identified in an annual report from the American Society of Clinical Oncology, published online Jan. 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Gregory A. Masters, M.D., from the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Alexandria, Va., and colleagues note that the biggest advance in cancer research for 2015 is the transformation of treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), with the approval of four new therapy options for the most common form of adult leukemia. The new treatment options include two different immunotherapy drugs, obinutuzumab and ofatumumab, which delay disease progression when given in combination with the standard chemotherapy chlorambucil. These drugs are suitable for previously untreated patients who are unable to tolerate the adverse effects of standard CLL treatments. In addition, new targeted drugs, ibrutinib and idelalisib, are effective therapies for patients with previously treated CLL that has become resistant to standard treatment or relapsed.

The report also addresses the importance of value in cancer care, and emphasizes the role of federally funded cancer research, with almost one-third of featured studies supported by federal funding. This research includes survival gains for advanced prostate cancer and preservation of fertility for women with early-stage breast cancer.

“These new therapies fill an enormous need for thousands of patients living with CLL,” Masters said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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